Monday, January 20, 2014

The Pitch Wars Wild Ride

This ride can reach dangerously high speeds, though sometimes it will creep along slower than a slug on an uphill slippery slide. 

As many of you know, a few weeks ago, I entered an online contest, called Pitch Wars, spear-headed by Brenda Drake and other wonderful writerly people. Go here if you want to learn more. It's a yearly contest, so maybe you'd like to join the 2014 mania fun.

Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. 

Veronica is my hero!
In early December, I spent 8 days staring at the #PitchWars Twitter feed. I hoped to garner a coveted spot as a mentee to one of the four amazing women I applied to from the equally amazing pool of Pitch Wars mentors (total of 46, I believe).

Twitter buzzed with hundreds of authors as we waited for just a tweet or two from one of our chosen mentors. We all wished for even the tiniest crumb of a clue as to whether or not the mentors had read and liked our entries.

Hands up, people, time to raise the roof and touch the sky! (or just hit the refresh button for your email until you have blisters on your clicker finger)

I love roller coasters. They make my heart race and my palms sweat. When I get frightened, I tend to laugh like a mad woman. That's exactly what I did when I got my first Pitch Wars related email. It was from Veronica Park, requesting the first 3 chapters of SECRETS I KEEP. I got so excited I created a fun little super hero image of her and posted it via Twitter as a thank you to her for requesting. I also hoped to get  her attention.

It really was a Pitch Wars version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride from that point on.

One of my #CoolParts
Some mentee candidates came up with a great idea to offer up more info about ourselves. If our mentor choices wanted to stalk us a bit as they mulled their decision, they could do just that. So #PimpMyBio was born. I posted mine and made sure to tweet my mentors encouraging them to stalk away.

I was all O_O--HOLY COW!
The mentee candidates also tweeted teasers from their books. Using the hashtag #coolparts, I tweeted away. I tried not to tweet too often, so as to not get obnoxious. Before I knew it BAM something amazing happened! Tina Moss, one of the mentors I'd applied to, tweeted one of her applicant's #coolparts. It was MINE! And it wasn't a line I'd even thought to tweet. She just pulled it out of first five pages of SECRETS I KEEP, included in the application I sent to her.

My first five pages and my first 3 chapters were posted on my blog, and people went to check them out. All the wonderful encouragement I've received from my fellow mentees has meant so much me. The writing community is one of the most supportive I've ever seen.

I crossed all my digits, hoping this was my sub.
As the days passed, I received requests from three of the four mentors I chose. I felt like a contestant on The Voice, with coaches turning in their chairs. Some of the tweets I saw come across the #PitchWars Twitter feed amazed me.

The days trudged on toward December 10, the day of reckoning. More tweets flew. Could they be about my entry? Was it possible I might make it into the Agent Round? I'm certain every mentee hopeful had these same thoughts as they watched the Twitter feed scroll.

Jennifer Hawkins
I spent my time on Twitter making new friends and supporting others as much as possible. After all, I'd decided early on, even if I didn't manage to snag a mentor, my main focus for entering Pitch Wars was to make connections and do my best to help others.

Really, the friends I've madeall because I entered Pitch Wars, are my real prize. Another mentee contender, Jennifer Hawkins, and I hit it off right away. We've cultivated what I think of as a tight bond over the last several weeks. She's been one of my biggest cheerleaders, along with all my CPs, The Off Beats. She lives within driving distance and we have plans to get together soon. We'll either be celebrating or crying in our wine over the Pitch Wars results. Either way, I can hardly wait.

Janet, Beer Yoda
There have been several others who I've had the pleasure and honor to chat with via Facebook Messenger and on Twitter. They are all wonderful authors who I will hopefully continue to get to know better as time passes. You know who you are! We all worked hard at distracting ourselves and everyone else with fun things like #PuppyWars and #PonyWars. I even made Janet Wrenn a new avitar.

After all my nails had been chewed to the quick and half my hair pulled from my scalp, December 9th rolled around. The mentors had all made their decisions, or so we heard through the grapevine. The mentees groaned aloud, via Twitter, that we hoped they'd release the results early.

Brenda Drake, Wonder Woman
Brenda Drake, another super hero in this story, did not disappoint. The evening before the official release date, she posted the results. When the lists went up, and this ride hit the first major loop de loop. I almost wet myself trying to click over to her blog and look to see if I'd made the cut. There were over 600 authors who entered (at least, I'm pretty sure that's the number I heard somewhere) and only 46 spots for primary mentees and another 92 for alternates. Odds were against me, but I had hopeall kinds of hope. If the feedback I'd gotten wasn't just smoke blown up my backside, surely I had at least a slim shot at a mentor.

I fumbled my way over to Brenda's blog and scrolled through all the names, checking each of the mentors I'd applied with. Trisha Leaver, Stacey Lee, and Tina Moss all had full rosters, but none had me listed. Then, at the very bottom, Veronica Park's team was listed.

Veronica Park
By some miracle from Heaven, Veronica chose SECRETS I KEEP. Out of all the entries she received.Out of all the talented authors vying for a spot on her team,*fire off the confetti cannons* *let loose the balloon drop* *commence Kermit flails*—there I was. Her mentee of choice.

My friends, new and not so new, were wonderful and congratulatory. The love they conveyed still warms my heart. Throughout the last several weeks, Veronica has been an amazing resource. Full of awesome advice on not just editing, but also marketing. She has surpassed all my hopes. My manuscript shines like a mirror in the desert sun. It couldn't be more ready.The respect and admiration I have for her is difficult to measure. She is my hero. I pray I have the privilege of calling her "friend" for the rest of my life.

I've been 'stalking' Pitch Wars agents, making a list of those I feel are likely to want to see more of . It's an exercise in futility, as there's no telling who may or may not be interested. Honestly, no matter how many requests I do or don't end up with come Thursday evening, I'll always be grateful to Veronica Park for taking a chance on SECRETS I KEEP and me. Thank you, Veronica. Thank you a gagillion times.

Warning: Loop de loops ahead

Now that we're down to a couple of days from the Pitch Wars Agent Round, this ride is coming up on its last few steep drops, though there may still be one or two more loop de loops. My stomach crawls over itself in anticipation, like snakes in a viper pit. Surely I'm not the only one equally excited and sickened by the possibilities awaiting me on Wednesday and Thursday (Jan. 22nd and 23rd, 2014).

Some day I will add SECRETS I KEEP to my shelf.
I have decided to calm my nerves by remembering this is a very subjective game. I may not get a single request this week, but it doesn't mean my manuscript isn't good, or that I'm not a great writer.

Until this demon car glides back into the station, I'm just going to hold on for dear life and try to enjoy the ride.

Have you entered writing contests? If so, what has been the best take away for you, win or not? Are you participating in Pitch Wars Agent Round in any capacity? If so, please leave your thoughts on the contest and what receiving requests can mean, or doesn't have to mean, to the mentees.

Thank you for stopping in. I will endeavor to follow this post with another next week to let everyone know how it went. I invite you to follow by email to receive that post automatically. Also, I'm working to grow my readership, so please become a member.